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I first downloaded the REW application a couple of weeks ago, and tried using it with the built-in mic input on my laptop computer. Not a good idea! Even after calibrating the levels, I could not get an accurate reading on the frequency sweep. So, I decided to actually follow the instructions and use an external USB soundcard.

First challenge -- FINDING a USB soundcard!

Little did I realize that USB soundcards are not exactly a hot item on store shelves nowadays. I found that the Best Buy stores in my area no longer stock USB soundcards (sales guy told me that they stopped carrying them recently b/c they did not sell well). Even a megastore like Fry's Electronics that used to carry a huge variety of soundcards seems to have pared down their external soundcard offerings to the Turtle Beach Roadie, the Creative Audigy 2 ZS Notebook, and a few keyring sized USB add-ons.

I've read that the Turtle Beach unit is not especially accurate and is primarily used for adding 5.1 capability. Those miniature keyring USB soundcards also seem geared for that market as well. Meanwhile, the Audigy 2 ZS is a PCMCIA card that costs $100 and does not have a line-level input (it has a mic input, but the REW instructions seem to warn against using a mic input and the readings on my laptop did not look right when using the built-in mic input).

None of the stores I visited had the Creative Audigy 2 NX USB unit in stock, nor any of the M-Audio products.

After reading a lot of the posts here, I decided that I did not need to spend over $100 on a soundcard that I would not necessarily use all the time, and would opt for the SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit External, even if I had to mail order it.

Turns out that most of the websites I visited did not have that soundcard in stock either. After going through several sites, I finally ventured upon of all places, Circuit City! Turns out that they not only had the soundcards in stock through their website, but the CC stores near my house had them available as well. So, I ordered it online and picked it up on my way home from work.

Based on my experience, it seems that external soundcards are not exactly an easy-to-find item at the retail level, and even the SoundBlaster Live! USB card was not in stock at most of the websites I visited. The Creative Audigy 2 external cards seemed readily available online, but they also cost around $100, quite a sum considering that I paid around $100 for the BFD itself.

But, now that I have the soundcard, I can finally get busy with the REW application! Even though I've already calibrated my subwoofer using the old fashioned manual measurement method, I'm really looking forward to seeing what REW can do and using the MIDI connection to the BFD to try programming some house curves into the unit.

I'll post more as things progress.
 

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Sorry to hear you had such a hard time finding a sound card.

in case there's anyone out there looking - Tigerdirect has the ADS instant music for $38
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1095164&CatId=193

I have one of these and it's awesome - Fully USB powered, No drivers needed with XP, RCA Stereo in and out, and Optical Digital in and out.

Sorry it's a day late and a dollar short, but at least this way people searching the forums know of this option.
 
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